If differentiation is the core to teaching a lesson, then why are all tests¬†standardised?
I was chatting to a teacher friend the other day and they came up with a point that really got me thinking about how the overall system of monitoring children in teaching actually works. We got into a discussion about the teacher workload and the amount of planning it takes to create a decent lesson, and she said ‚Äúdifferentiation is the core to teaching a lesson, and yet all national tests and observations are standardised‚Äù. This led further into discussion about children that we had both taught with SEN and how they would cope taking the same tests that other children in the class were also sitting. If were took a specific subject, such as numeracy, into consideration, there were only a few children that were academically sound in all areas. However, there were children that excelled beyond in certain areas of numeracy, such as times tables, fractions, or ratios, but as the tests were as ‚Äòstandard‚Äô, the children that were of a very high level in these areas lost points in other places. We argued whether there should be additional questions in a child‚Äôs forte area to push them further and see what level they potentially are, or that the grading system be modified to cater for all learning types. There was talk of SATs being un-child friendly. It was the fact that everything that the children had learned throughout their schooling lives, were thrown into a week‚Äôs worth of testing, with resulting grades determining what levels children would be entered at when joining secondary education. I am not fantastic at tests at the best of times, and the week I did my SATs, I remember having terrible flu and on anti-biotics. This affected my performance throughout that week and resulted in me getting lower grades that stuck. Not very fair for someone who tried very hard and did alright through school to be penalised for an ‚Äòoff‚Äô week. Child and teacher observations were of a similar discussion too, with a monitoring progress that is unrealistic to how teachers should teach and how pupils should learn. Teachers can have an ‚Äòoff‚Äô lesson during Ofsted and be penalised for that. It is understandable that the government need national statistics to see how schools and academies all over compare, but the generalisation makes the results and learning outcomes unrealistic to an individual‚Äôs true potential.
The older you get, the more choice you have within deciding. I mean, you can decide your GCSEs, and from there your college subjects, and even specify further at university. Should there be more option for children of a younger age?
Lots of points to sink your teeth into with this post… why not discuss it in the 1stNoteEducation forum??